These are notes on the sermon, Learn How To Receive Visions, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 17 January 2021, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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Pastor Prince begins the service by reminding the church that this is the Year of Hazon Vision (the year where we will receive God-given prophetic visions for our lives).
VIDEO: The Theme of the Year video is screened.
The Hebrew word “hazon” refers to prophetic visions from God.
Many times, the way God speaks to His people is through visions (pictures). When the vision is from God, it will surely come to pass.
Sometimes, the devil tries to hijack our visions by also giving us visions—but these false visions usually involve pictures that depict evil and devastation. They can also come in the form of nightmares. If the dream or vision you see causes you to feel dejected or fearful, bind it in the name of Jesus and don’t give further thought to it. While the devil can prophesy evil plans, only God is omniscient and can show you the things to come (John 16:13).
Pastor Prince encourages the congregation to pray this prayer from Ephesians daily:
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know (1) what is the hope of His calling, (2) what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and (3) what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.”
— Ephesians 1:17–19 NKJV
“give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened” — God wants us to be cognizant and in full possession of the resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead. He wants us to walk in it, and that comes by having the spirit of wisdom and revelation released in us.
“that you may know (1) what is the hope of His calling, (2) what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and (3) what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” — When you have the spirit of wisdom and revelation and the eyes of your heart are enlightened, you will know you have a high calling in Christ! With that call and vision for your life comes all the provision, supply, and resources to assist you in walking in your calling.
Today’s sermon is about how to receive hazon visions and dreams from God.
Sometimes, God will even reveal hazon visions to heathen kings or unbelievers. But it takes a believer who is filled with the Spirit to be able to interpret those visions. For example, Pharaoh had a dream all his wise men could not interpret except Joseph (Gen. 41:38), and Nebuchadnezzar had a dream all his wise men could not interpret except Daniel (Dan. 2). This shows that while anyone can have visions, the wisdom to interpret those visions comes from God Himself.
Today, we are no longer under the old covenant but under the new covenant. God still speaks in visions and dreams in this new covenant.
There are those who believe that visions and dreams from God only occurred under the old covenant, but this is not true. God speaks to us in the same way today, and we can see many examples of this in the New Testament.
There are also believers who are fearful of receiving visions because they’re concerned that the visions may be from the devil. However, that fear is from the devil and we should not fall for it. Receiving hazon visions and dreams is our rightful inheritance as children of God. Today, because Jesus has been glorified, we can be sure that the Holy Spirit (who reveals God’s hazon visions and dreams to us) has been given to us (John 7:39).
There are times that God’s hazon visions contain warnings for us. But with the bad news also comes a solution for God’s people. We can see this in Acts 11:
“Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world . . . Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea.”
— Acts 11:28–29 NKJV
“a great famine throughout all the world . . . send relief to the brethren” — Although visions from God can include pictures of negative events (these visions are usually delivered through preachers or prophets), these visions also contain solutions and answers to the prophesied events. God will never give you a negative or fearful vision and leave you hanging. He will always give you something positive to look forward to and walk in.
This is what the apostle Peter (who quoted the prophet Joel) says in Acts 2:
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.”
— Acts 2:17 NKJV
“Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams” — The way God speaks to us is through His Word, but many times, the Word describes faith pictures for us. God also speaks to us in picture form—in visions and dreams that are in line with His Word. Dreams from the devil are the complete opposite of God’s Word and the visions God gives to us.
During the days of the priest Eli, when Samuel was young, the word of the Lord was rare and there was “no open vision” (1 Sam. 3:1). There being no frequent vision meant that God’s disfavor was upon Israel at that time (they were under the law and Eli’s sons were living immorally). However, God always provides a solution for His people, and so He began to speak in visions and dreams to Samuel.
Samuel, who became a prophet, was the first person to be called a “seer” (1 Sam. 9:9). To be a “seer” means that he sees God’s hazon visions.
Back then in the Old Testament, being able to see God’s hazon visions and dreams was exclusive to prophets. But under the new covenant:
While there are still people who have the special anointing of a prophet in the new covenant, God has given us all the ability to see His visions for our own lives. It is our inheritance to possess!
God's hazon visions may not come to pass immediately, but they are sure to come to pass at the right time. God explained this to Habakkuk:
“Then the Lord answered me and said:
‘Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.’”
— Habakkuk 2:2–3 NKJV
“Write the vision . . . wait for it . . . it will surely come” — Sometimes, visions from God will take time to manifest. But God promises in His Word that they will surely come to pass. When we write down the visions God gives us, we are adopting an attitude of faith.
When you ask God for something, get ready to receive it.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.”
— James 1:5–6 KJV
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God . . . let him ask in faith” — When you ask God for wisdom and direction, ask in faith! As you ask Him about the visions He has for your marriage, family, career, and ministry, write them down. Adopt the good practice of writing down what He shows you in a notebook or in a note app in your phone. Write down the flashes of visions that come up in your spirit. Even if the visions don’t come up immediately, wait for them. The answers to your challenges and the wisdom to handle them will surely come.
There is an active part for you to play when it comes to receiving hazon visions from God.
God doesn’t want you to be passive. He doesn’t want you emptying your mind so that He can overtake you (that is what the devil and the occult do). God wants to work with you. He wants you to cooperate with Him. He wants your involvement.
It is the same with speaking in tongues. The Holy Spirit does not overtake you, but we speak with other tongues as the Spirit gives us utterance (Acts 2:4). We are the ones who open our mouths to speak, and that’s when the Holy Spirit works together with us.
In the same way, when it comes to receiving visions, we are not to be passive or surrender our minds to unseen forces. We are to actively ask God for His visions, pray in the Spirit, and wait and watch to see what He will show us (Hab. 2:1). Watch to see the floating images that come up in our spirit.
When God wants to do something good in your life, He often prophesies it through a vision. This is what happened for Habakkuk and Samuel in the Old Testament—they prophesied visions that gave faith pictures to the group or nation they were prophesying to.
In the Old Testament, the visions the prophets received were not always good because the people were under the law (and so, while there were times they prophesied good, there were also times they prophesied punishment for the people’s sins). For example, before King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem and the land of Judah, the visions the prophets had were of war and bloodshed.
But today, the principle under the new covenant (that is found in the New Testament) is: God always prophesies good into our lives.
When we are talking about receiving hazon visions from God, we are not talking about prophesying world events. We are talking about receiving simple prophetic pictures for our lives, our ministry, our areas of responsibility and assignment.
You don’t need to wait for an angel, a person, or a physical appearance of the Lord to reveal visions to you. When Saul was on the road to Damascus and had a vision, the people around him did not see the Lord speaking to him (Acts 9:7). The way God speaks to us is in His still, small voice.
The devil tries to imitate God by bringing images to your mind as well, but his images bring fear. Every image from God brings peace. Even when God shows you a hazon vision that contains a warning of a negative event, there is a solution to it and it will bring you peace.
Pastor Prince retells a recent dream he had (which he shared in last week’s sermon). In this dream, he and his family were in a house and were supernaturally protected from tsunami waves outside. Though some visions may come with a warning, they always end with an edifying and comforting picture.
“But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.”
— 1 Corinthians 14:3 NKJV
“edification and exhortation and comfort” — Prophecies are Spirit-inspired words, and they contain pictures that edify, exhort, and comfort us.
Under grace, the judgment that was ours fell on Jesus at the cross. We live on the side of blessings, not curses (Gal. 3:10). If you are going around prophesying judgment instead of God’s grace and comfort, that is false prophecy.
Look at these 2 passages side-by-side:
“To proclaim the acceptable (‘radzon’) year of the Lord, and the vengeance of our God.”
— Isaiah 61:2 NKJV
“acceptable” — The word “acceptable” is the Hebrew word “radzon,” which means favor. “The acceptable year of the Lord” refers to a year of favor that freely abounds to God’s people.
This verse ends with the mention of God’s vengeance, but when Jesus read this verse out in Luke 4, He stopped reading at the comma and omitted “the vengeance of our God.”
Take a look at this in Luke 4:
“‘To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He closed the book.”
— Luke 4:19–20 NKJV
“Then He closed the book” — Notice that Jesus stopped at the comma and only spoke of the favor that would be upon God’s people. This tells us that the day of vengeance is not upon us. Today, Christ has reconciled us to God because of His finished work, and that is why we can enjoy His favor and blessings in our lives, and know that God no longer imputes sin to us (2 Cor. 5:19–20). Let’s not be new covenant people with an old covenant mentality!
When you are waiting in faith to receive visions or dreams from God, expect to see floating images that come up in your spirit. When you see such an image in your heart, don’t doubt it. Just write down what you see first, and you can look at it later and see if it is scriptural and in line with the Word of God (1 Cor. 14:3).
We dive into the story of Daniel:
“As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel has understanding in all visions and dreams.”
— Daniel 1:17 NKJV
“God gave them knowledge and skill” — What we have is natural understanding and knowledge, but God gives us supernatural understanding and knowledge that can only come from Him. Parents, you can pray this over your children too!
“understanding in all visions and dreams” — Daniel was the only one who received the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. All the king’s wise men could not interpret it because the king refused to tell them the dream and instead demanded that they tell him the dream and its interpretation. No one could do it but Daniel, who sought the Lord for an answer (Dan. 2:19). The king acknowledged that the dream was from God and promoted Daniel.
In the same way, when you pray and ask God for wisdom and understanding, He will supply you with the wisdom to understand the visions He shows you.
When does God give us visions?
“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter.”
— Daniel 7:1 ESV
“Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream” — As Daniel lay in bed, visions kept appearing in his mind, and he knew they were from God. Notice that God gave Daniel visions as he was simply lying down in bed. While that seems like a very unspiritual moment, that’s often when God speaks to us. When it came to King Nebuchadnezzar, he was also lying on his bed when he received the vision that Daniel prophesied later on (Dan. 2:29).
God makes it clear that he speaks in visions and dreams.
We can see this in His response to Aaron and Miriam when they revolted against Moses, God’s anointed leader. God told them:
“Then He said,
‘Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision;
I speak to him in a dream.’”
— Numbers 12:6 NKJV
“in a vision . . . in a dream” — Visions and dreams are not things we should esteem lowly or discredit because God Himself said that He speaks to His prophets this way.
While God can definitely speak to you audibly (Acts 10:19–20), many times, His word comes in the form of visions.
Practice this when you’re praying for someone: Listen to what God is saying. Many times, God will show you a vision for that person. The Lord is calling all of us, not just pastors, to walk in this anointing of praying for others and having visions for them. These visions will always edify, exhort, and comfort the person. Don’t speak disease or negative images over the person because these visions are not from God.
Pastor Prince shares a story from when he was a teenager and was mentally oppressed by the enemy. While in a bookstore, he asked a prophet to pray for the oppression to leave, but instead, the man prophesied darkness and then left him there hanging. This is not a prophecy from God. Years later, Paul Cain prophesied great things over Pastor Prince’s life and said that he would come to visions (and we are seeing the fulfillment of this in this year of Hazon Vision).
This year, let us all walk in visions and dreams!
“I have also spoken by the prophets,
And have multiplied visions;
I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets.”
— Hosea 12:10 NKJV
“multiplied visions” — When God speaks, He speaks in multiplied (many) visions.
“symbols” — God gives us visions (pictures) that are symbols, meaning that they stand for something. For example, the symbol of the white cloth (Acts 10:11) represents the new covenant.
Under the new covenant, God still gives visions that are symbols. For example, He gave the apostle Peter a vision of many different animals and called them all clean, signifying that Peter should go to the Gentiles to preach to them for the Lord has called them clean (Acts 10).
Pastor Prince shares a story of how the Lord once gave him a vision to help an elderly man who was lost and stranded on a highway. This man was incoherent and could not tell Pastor Prince where he wanted to go, so Pastor asked the Lord and the Lord showed him a vision of a food center, which ended up being the correct destination where someone was waiting for this elderly man.
This story encourages us to be alert and be expecting the Lord to lead us through simple visions. God did not show Pastor Prince that vision because he is a pastor, but as a fulfillment of the prophet Joel’s prophecy in Acts 2:17.
Many pictures of God’s hazon vision for you are found in His Word:
“Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
In the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants
All around your table.”
— Psalm 128:3 NKJV
“Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine” — God likens your wife to a fruitful vine. What does this signify? Vines produce grapes, from which we get wine. God is saying to husbands, “Your wife will always intoxicate you. Always be intoxicated with her love” (Prov. 5:19). Notice how God didn’t just say you would have a “good wife,” but gave you a picture of what she is like.
This is how God sees your wife—as a fruitful vine—and you are to see her the same way. In the natural, it is easy to focus on the faults and flaws. But our human eyes cannot see reality accurately the way God sees it. If God says your wife is a fruitful vine, agree with Him. Even in your private thoughts, see yourself enjoying and feeding on her love.
When you agree with and focus on the faith picture God wants you to have, you are letting Him fill your heart with His hazon vision.
“Your children like olive plants” — God likens your children to olive plants. Olive plants are greatly valued because every part of the olive plant can be used for something. They also have an extremely long lifespan, which speaks of longevity. Scientific studies have also shown that when olive shoots are planted within older olive trees, the old tree starts to perpetuate again. This is a picture of how God gives you children to renew your youth. Pastor Prince shares that when he and Wendy had their second child, Justin, at an advanced age, God renewed his youth.
This is God’s hazon vision for your life:
“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing.”
— Psalm 92:12–14 NKJV
“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree” — Palm trees are fruitful even in old age, with multitudes of fruits for harvest. You will always be fruitful.
“He shall grow like a cedar” — The cedar tree is known for its strength and fortitude.
“They shall still bear fruit in old age” — This is how God sees us—bearing fruit in old age. Don’t have the mental image of your body or mind becoming frail because of age. God’s vision for you is that you stop growing old and stay young.
“They shall be fresh and flourishing” — The word “flourishing” is the Hebrew word “ra’anan,” which means “luxurious” or “fresh green.” God wants you forever green and young.
God also wants you to give you this picture of His blessings:
“They shall not build and another inhabit;
They shall not plant and another eat;
For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people,
And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.”
— Isaiah 65:22 NKJV
“as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people” — This is a picture of God’s promise of long life for His people.
“My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands” — This is a picture of how we will be blessed in our career—we will not contribute then be replaced, but we will get to enjoy the fruit of our labor.
God envisions us as the blessed man that is described in Jeremiah 17, who does not see when heat comes (Jer. 17:7–8). This does not mean that there are no challenges or difficult situations in our lives; it means we will not see/be affected by them. Instead, we will see the good and the fruits in our lives.
When you choose to complain and see only the bad, you liken yourself to the cursed man who cannot see good when it comes (Jer. 17:6)—even when good is there! Pessimistic people think they are realists, but actually, they have a warped view of reality because they do not see when good is there.
God said He will prolong your life as the days of a tree—you will have many good days.
“With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.””
— Psalms 91:16 NKJV
“With long life I will satisfy him” — How long you want to live is up to you—it’s based on your level of satisfaction. Jesus died young, at the age of 33, so that you can live long. And even when you are advanced in years, you shall bear much fruit, just like Abraham and Caleb.
“But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil. Mine eye also shall see my desire on mine enemies, and mine ears shall hear my desire of the wicked that rise up against me.”
— Psalms 92:10–11 KJV
“I shall be anointed with fresh oil. Mine eye also shall see” — The result of being anointed with oil is that your eyes will see. God has designed you for visions. If you don’t let the Lord fill you with His visions through His Word, the enemy will be the one to bring visions.
Many times, the enemy feeds you with his visions via the filth and violence that we watch on TV or stream online. These images rob our peace and wellbeing and cause us to have negative emotions.
That’s why God wants us to spend time in His Word. Keep on listening to His Word, feed yourself with the positive images in His Word. One word from God can change your life forever.
We can see the importance of having the right vision in the story of Adam and Eve:
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.”
— Genesis 3:6–7 NKJV
“the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise” — How did the fall of man begin? The devil played with Eve’s imagination. This was a false vision that he gave to Eve.
“the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked” — After Adam and Eve sinned, their eyes were opened to see their nakedness (a picture of shame, condemnation, and lack). Before they ate the fruit, they were not naked but were crowned with God’s glory and honor (Ps. 8:5). God wanted man’s eyes to be opened by the tree of life to see the glory that surrounded them, but He gave Adam and Eve a choice: they could have their eyes opened by either the tree of life or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Because of the enemy’s false vision, they chose the latter.
God never meant for the earth to have earthquakes, famine, or disease. He made paradise for man to enjoy. Due to the fall of man, all of us have come short (forfeited) the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Today, all this has changed because of Jesus’ finished work. Jesus prayed for us to have the same glory of God that He possesses (John 17:22), and we are once again crowned with glory. To have Christ’s glory means you are a heavyweight (a picture of blessing and influence). When Jesus came, He restored everything that was lost in the Garden of Eden back to us.
After Jesus rose from the dead, He walked with 2 disciples (Cleopas and his companion, probably his wife) on the road to Emmaus and restrained their eyes from knowing it was Him. Then He expounded on the Scriptures to them and showed them all the things concerning Himself (Luke 24:16, 27). Today, we get to have the same experience Cleopas had—to see Jesus in the Scriptures, which is more important than seeing Him in the flesh.
Later on, when Jesus broke bread with Cleopas and his wife (this is the partaking of the Lord’s Supper), their eyes were opened and they recognized that the One with them was Jesus who had risen from the dead:
“Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
— Luke 24:30–32 NKJV
“He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him” — On this Emmaus road experience, Jesus restored what Adam and Eve lost in the Garden of Eden. In the Garden, Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to see their nakedness, lack, shame, and condemnation. But here on Emmaus road, Cleopas and his wife’s eyes were opened by the Lord’s Supper—the true tree of life—to know Jesus. To know Jesus is to receive everything from God. Jesus is everything. With Him comes all good things.
The greatest knowledge is knowing Jesus. Every time you partake of the Lord’s Supper, you will not see your negative situation, but you will see your health and your blessings and your breakthroughs that come from the Lord.
Pastor Prince closes the service by reminding us to fill our hearts with hazon vision, and to speak forth those visions in faith. He also shares a vision he saw of an unbeliever who is watching this service, who asked God to tell Pastor Prince to call him out so that he would know that God is really speaking through Pastor Prince.
Pastor Prince also prays for people with:
Every healing can stand the test of medical science. Please go back to your doctor to verify your healing. Only stop taking your medicine when your healing has been confirmed by medical reports. Then write in to share your testimony!
“This coming week, the Lord bless you and the Lord keep you. The Lord bless you with the blessings of father Abraham and the Lord keep you and your little ones from the COVID-19 virus, from every one of its mutations, from every other infection, and from every disease. From every danger, harm, accident, tragedy, and from all the power of the evil one.
Through the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lord make His face shine on you and your families, and be favorable to you. Surely goodness and mercy is pursuing you even now. Throughout this week, goodness and mercy will pursue you. You’ll enjoy His goodness this week. The Lord lift up His countenance on every one of you and grant to you and your loved ones His shalom peace. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.”
We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.
© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2021
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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